Jerry Sandusky's unspeakable acts sent shockwaves in the Penn State campus. Jerry Sandusky is no longer part of society, and that is a very good thing, because his disgusting acts preyed upon young children is as horrific as it gets. Amir Bar-Lev's documentary "Happy Valley" focuses on how the Sandusky crimes impacted the Penn State campus and its "happy valley" society. Sandusky was a former Penn State football assistant coach who opened up a camp for disadvantaged children. Penn State society thought the world of Jerry, which included his boss the infamous Joe Paterno. Then when Sandusky's child molestation charges came into the limelight- a whirlwind of controversy, divisiveness, and shame soon followed to the campus and its city. Paterno was in the middle of the controversy as he was a central figure blamed for not reporting when he was aware of Sandusky's acts. By no means "Happy Valley" is an easy watch, but an important watch no doubt on how one man's despicable acts could have profound impact on first the victims, but also on an entire society; Bar-Lev excels in bringing that to the forefront. "Happy Valley" will in no means make you happy, but it is recommended for its societal focus at how one man's crime impacts an entire community & university. **** Good
Action / Documentary / Drama / Sport
Action / Documentary / Drama / Sport
Keywords: american footballchild molester
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The town of State College, the home of Penn State University, has long been known as Happy Valley, and its iconic figure for more than 40 years was Joe Paterno, the head coach of the school's storied football team. His program was lauded for not only its success on the field but also its students' achievements in the classroom. And Paterno took on mythic national stature as "Saint Joe." But then, in November 2011, everything came crashing down. Longtime Assistant Coach Jerry Sandusky was charged with 40 counts of child sex abuse, setting off a firestorm of accusations about who failed to protect the children of Happy Valley. Was Sandusky's abuse an "open secret" in the town? Did Coach Paterno and the Penn State administration value their football program more than the lives of Sandusky's victims? Filmed over the course of the year after Sandusky's arrest as key players in the scandal agreed to share their stories, Happy Valley deconstructs the story we think we know to uncover a much more complicated and tragic tale.
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Disturbing to watch, but an impactful doc, no doubt
One Of The Most Powerful Docs I've Seen In A Long Time...
I remember all the national headlines from a few years ago concerning Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky's arrest on child sex abuse charges, and of course whether or not legendary beloved head coach Joe Paterno did enough to stop it- and how much he knew or didn't know about the whole thing.
This documentary observes the year after Sandusky's arrest in the surrounding community known as "Happy Valley". This is a community that for decades had been a place of pride on Paterno's winning streak, his commitment to the school/team, and his record number of players who actually graduated with degrees. The film contains dozens of interviews with those who knew both coaches, some who were actually molested by Sandusky (including his own adopted son),as well as folks in the community debating about Paterno's actions/inactions involving the abuse.
It's just heart-wrenching at times. The scene involving Paterno's statue, as tourists attempt to get photos next to it while this guy holds a sign up (making some not-so-good remarks about the coach) I think is one of the most powerful scenes I've ever seen filmed for a documentary. There was also a lot of debate about whether the NCAA 's punishment of the school was fair. I have some issues with that myself- like should the students have been penalized for it? The school was forbidden from playing in games for FOUR years! WTF?? That's pretty much these athletes' entire college career-??
Well, anyway, this film is one of the best docs I've seen in some time. Definitely worth checking out sometime for sports and non-sports fans alike...
Not all cults are comprised of dancing hippies...
First of all, this documentary really stated nothing new for me beyond the Matt Sandusky angle. In reality, why should you watch it to begin with if nothing new is brought to the table?
The real vision of the documentary is how cults can easily form and easily maintain a grip on a person. I've always learned it is never a good thing to deify someone, regardless of their truest intentions. While it might leave you empty of people to look up to, what do you think will happen when you find out this "hero" aided in something terrible? Clearly the people of State College have recoiled deeper into their cave, not willing to think for a second about their demigods. A normal person would state the obvious...Joe Paterno paid a heavy price for his actions. But to sit for 10 years and say nothing and then claim ignorance? A normal person would say would fully acknowledge maybe it wasn't good to put him on such a pedestal.
Fortunately for the people of State College the filmmaker decided to leave everything on the screen, making no grand proclamation even though we could clearly see it. The only scene you really need to see is the protester at Joe Paterno's statue. People just did not want to believe the truth that and they were almost ready to throw down, mouths foaming, minds completely clouded. No person or concept should ever have this hold on you.
And here is the scary thing the film eluded to....it will happen again in State College. And it will happen in other cities all over the world. If anything, what we can take out of this film is that if you are good at sports, people will forgive you or completely downplay your actions. And this mentality is dangerous.